Trump’s Dreaming of a White Male Cabinet


What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing if you’re Donald Trump.

Yes, Donald Trump is actually making good on one of his campaign promises-make America white male again. Trump’s all star,  all boys club administration plucked from the corporate powers and wealthy elite has a nice retro feel to it. Perfect for locker room banter.

If they are confirmed by the senate Trumps 4 top Cabinet officials will all be white men.

vintage illustration men toasting each other

So gals, no reason to worry your pretty little heads trying to figure out that big old scary economy, or foreign affairs. You  can rest assured that Americas will be in safe hands ( albeit tiny) under Donald Trump’s all boys club.

And the power will stay that way.

In fact as Rachel Maddow pointed out, the line of succession to the presidency which includes the speaker of the house and the senate president pro tempore,  is sure as shootin’ shaping up to consist of 12 white men.

Kind of like a jury pool from Jim Crow Alabama.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise. When the Trump campaign released its economic Advisory Council this past summer it was not just short on economists,  it was woefully short on women.


Vintage illustration business men 1950's

What’s Wrong with this picture? Nothing if you’re Donald Trump. Vintage illustration Arrow Shirts Ad 1951

Yes sirree, no cake-baking, curtain-making, dress-hemming girls here! The only diversity among this exclusive group of skirt chasers was in the different spellings of the 6 Steve’s – Stephen/Steven and Steve.

In Trump’s retro based desire to make America Great Again,  he seems to hearken back to a less than swell time when the all boys club was the norm in business, politics and pretty much everything else.

Dress For Success

Men of Affairs Esquire Fashion 1949

A field guide to the American mid century male power broker a species many feared would  become extinct. From Esquire Magazine March 1949. Men of Affairs: Chairman of the board of directors of a big Oil Company is surrounded by a sea of pin striped, and worsted suits and broadcloth shirts and silk ties. Illustration by Martin Burniston.

Once upon a time dress for success came in men’s size only. Looks like Donald Trump still shop at that vintage store.

But of course that’s about as dated a notion as this series of  illustrations of mid-century power brokers  from Esquire magazine from 1949. A guide to the gentleman executive or Men of Affairs as they are referred to, on how to best present yourself for the big day – “A critical interview, a meeting of the board, a stop in at the White House, a trip to Europe or Eureka Kansas to close a big deal.”

It is a picture perfect, privileged world of power brokers  inhabited only by men- and white men at that- offering a blueprint  for top executives for successful dressing.

Today it offers a field guide to a species some fear may one day become extinct.

Masters of the Universe

Vintage illustration Philadelphia Whiskey Ad

Vintage illustration Philadelphia Whiskey Ad

These “Masters of the Universe” who inhabited the musky  world of corporations, government and finance are an homage to mid-century masculinity, the idealized world Trump would like us to return to.

A testosterone driven time when business affairs were conducted in a rarefied world of Club Cars on the Twentieth Century. Boarding the Clipper. Stepping out of a cab in front of a Wall Street address known around the globe. Catching the Congressional Limited. Meeting in a paneled board room 50 stories above Manhattan.

Old Boys Club Vintage illustration

Old Boys Club Vintage illustration Old Forester Whiskey ad 1952

Deals among the brotherhood of businessmen were made, “Relaxing over a cocktail at the Ritz, the Recess Club, the Raquet Club, the Bel Aire, the Bohemian Club and a dozen other spots where a white martini or a dry Old fashioned smooth business into the blend of creative venture and far-flung cooperation that American men have turned into a science and even a hobby.”

A rarefied world a world where women were relegated to taking dictation and fetching coffee.

Men of Affairs: Financier:

Men wall street Esquire 49 SWScan04256

The article, written as a personal memo to all executives,  Donald trump didn’t get the memo that times have changed. Illustration by Martin Burniston Esquire March 1949

“This gentleman with a seat on the Exchange ( where incidentally, he may not sit down at all) knows well that to be a financial pillar of the nation he must, like the Doric pillars behind him, reflect a certain restrained dignity. His custom preferences: luxurious dark blue cashmere double chested overcoat with lapels softly rolled; the executive flair of the Homburg, silk foulard imported muffler, striped blue flannel suit.”

Men of Affairs: Diplomat

Men Diplomat Esquire 49 SWScan04255

“Men of Affairs” Illustration by Martin Burniston Esquire March 1949

By tradition the diplomat is a mental athlete, a tactician, an accomplished gentleman who must pursue his purposes with flawless savoir faire and good taste. He asks as much of his traditional garb, the formal clothes which may excuse his occasional verbal informality: His Oxford grey jacket is a three button single chested model with peaked lapels worn over striped trousers. The pearl grey, double chested waistcoat and small patterned tie are distinguished touches.

The black Homburg is the accepted head-piece. Grey mocha gloves and black shoes are de rigueur, as they say at the Embassy in between sips of the champagne and munches on the caviar.

Men of Affairs: Coast to Coast

men businessman traveler 49 SWScan04257

“Men of Affairs” Illustration by Martin Burniston Esquire March 1949

His offices touching on the two oceans with branches midway between, our man has learned to fly thousands of miles as casually as he once traveled across town, and to keep his feet on the ground while reaching decisions with his head in the air.

His role is modern, demanding, his appearance at the airport must be 100% perfect the minute they feather the props. His own props: double chested cashmere coat cut along easy lines, its bold look brought out by the hand stitching set back from the edges considered by many men to be essential for transcontinental travel. With it a fine checked Angola suit. The hand sewn pigskin gloves are soft and rugged type specially indicated for ravel. His hat is handkerchief felt of course: and as the hostess on the plane watches him, maybe, she sighs.

“You see these American men of Affairs everywhere you look, including your own mirror,” the guide explains.

And if you are Donald Trump then the mirror you look into is a retro fitted… one that only looks backwards.

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 © Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



  1. Damn! I keep thinking of what Trudeau in Canada was saying about such a diverse cabinet–just gave a “duh” response of “Because it’s 2016.” Why do Americans make fun of Canadians again? I think they’ve got a head on their shoulders…lots of heads, lots of shoulders, actually.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know people are lining up to join the Trump team. The only qualification is you have to leave your backbone outside. However there is one job they just can’t applicants for. That’s White House Intern.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whether it is uncanny or merely “coincidence”, Russia has a current movement — initiated by whom I’m unsure 😉 — of returning to traditional 1950’s gender roles. See Episode 4 clips of National Geographic Explorer here:

    Thought you’d be VERY interested in this Russian social “movement” or reversal Sally given Putin’s and tRump’s man-crushes on each other. As I read your blog-post here, I kept remembering this semi-disturbing episode I caught a few days earlier and how Russia’s leadership and now America’s leadership are both from this 1950’s time-capsule. Very strange, to grossly put it mildly. 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a disturbing “trend”. certainly here in the states, Trumps supporters seemed to bemoan a fading America. Fear based, they are frustrated and angry. Their familiar “American Way” has shattered into a bewildering array of lifestyles and feel as if their white patriarchal ways have been under attack. Returning to clearly defined gender roles seems so much safer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fear based, they are frustrated and angry.

        From the standpoint of clinical psychology, that is a very typical reaction and symptom of a person or persons not coping well with reality — the reality that this world, this life, and all living things on it… as well as inanimate objects… all change; constantly fluidly moving, transistioning, morphing, dying, and rebirthing in new (slightly or significantly) ways. Many humans don’t notice this never-ending hourly/daily change because we think only in the immediate, not 10, 100, or 1,000 year increments…either direction, in the past or into the future. Yet, our brains have evolved that capacity to do so over thousands of years!

        How very very strange those persons who do not want to move WITH fluid reality. In this case here, with social fluid-reality. 😉


      • And I forgot I wanted to add this last part which is more pertinent to your post Sally…

        Need I/we list the plethora of prominent women around the globe that have contributed to society and existence here, making it better, safer, wiser, and more loving? No, because anyone with a good heart can make their own long long list.

        Need I/we list the plethora of prominent non-caucasin persons around the globe that have contributed to society and existence here, making it better, safer, wiser, and more loving? No. See above explanation. 😉

        There are exceptional reasons why eusociality works and works well to avoid extinction! The same can be said about “Strength in numbers” and “Strength in diversity” due to more intelligence working together for a common goal. ❤

        Exclusion makes us suffer. Inclusion makes us thrive. — E.O. Wilson

        Liked by 1 person

      • zxlaa

        Ummmm…..we want jobs, not more welfare. It is and was all about jobs. Don’t kid yourself.


  4. An interesting article today points out the comparison of Obama’s picks vs Trumps cabinet picks as far as education. One went for the best and brightest……

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on zobop republic and commented:
    Looks like Jim Crow by another name to me!


  6. I’ve given this a lot of thought about white American’s. They may not like being called ‘racist’ but they can’t deny they are…’resentful’. The question is, what are they resentful about? Or whom?


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